Women Empowerment - Keeping the Promise

Womanhood | By Lynnette Mahlaba, Humanitarian | 31 October 2014

I promise you I will come back with something to eat. I promise I will pay your school fees. I promise I will buy you a new uniform. I promise I will play with you. Overwhelmed with the many promises made they leave the house in search of fulfilling these promises. “I am the mother and father and I must fulfil my promise to these young kids. Their lives must be better than my own.”

Young and old Zimbabwean women alike are living lives without promise. They themselves don’t believe that life will get better. They leave the house to go to their market stalls on the street hoping to make some sort of living and having spent the whole day in the sun they come back with just enough to maybe buy a little bag of maize meal to cook the sadza they eat with vegetables.

The evening meal has become so predictable that the children do not look forward to eating. “Gogo you promised that we’re going to have meat today.” These are the women who come to the soup kitchen for food assistance; this is their life each day. They are not beggars but proud strong women who are doing something to make their lives better already but the cents aren’t adding up. They bring their lunch boxes and do not eat on site, just to make sure that tonight we have a little variety. Tonight we are not eating the same sadza and vegetables but we are eating soup made “with love.” It may not be a lot but it makes a difference.

These same women make sure they come to the workshops we have to learn something new.

If I learn a new trade maybe my life will change - I will have new prospects, my grandchildren will go to school. These are their hopes when they come and because they’ve struggled for so long they want everything to happen at once. They learn to make their first pair of earrings and you see the pride on their faces. One never forgets their first pair. You never forget the pride you feel to have made something that will beautify your ears, the tinkling of the earrings makes you smile and for those few creative hours - you forget the promises and get caught up in possibility. It is possible that I could sell these - they could fetch at least $1. If I sold ten of these pairs I could make $10. Their minds start ticking and excitement builds up - this could change my life as I know it - I could fulfil those promises.

The With Love Foundation does not promise to make these ladies overnight millionaires; neither do we promise to make them a successful business woman. Our mantra “building lives one day at a time” means with each step we want to rebuild their confidence, we want to rebuild their self-esteem and reshape their thinking so that one day they can fulfil the promises. The ladies we assist do not belong to the same age group - we have young and old working together for a brighter future.

Some looking after their own children and others looking after grandchildren.

All are looking for something to be hopeful about and they have found a dormant passion they didn’t know they possessed. A way of making a living they didn’t imagine. A way to fulfil the promises they have made - each word heavy with meaning. Each word weighing with expectation but now there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. A little bit of hope as they see the beauty of their products. Each fair we are invited to is a way to keep the promise. Each time we go out to sell their wares it is to keep the promise.

Any function ensures we keep the promise and together we can work towards a better future and keep the promise of being my sister’s keeper.

To volunteer with these amazing promise keepers or to invite us to an event corporate or otherwise please contact 0772264471 or 0777394414. Every little we make goes towards these women of promise.